Okay, Museum Webcams Are A Thing

As we all know from reading The Da Vinci Code and watching National Treasure, today’s top museums have state-of-the-art security systems. Overall, technology has done a lot for museums–from (mostly) keeping people from touching the Van Goghs to engaging visitors even further. And now it even allows you to connect with your top museums 24/7. That’s right–some museums these days are streaming live feed from their webcams directly to a wide internet audience.

According to an article from Hyperallergic by Allison Meier that listed 10 especially intriguing museum webcams, museum webcams are becoming more of a norm. And while most museums that offer webcams aren’t exactly the Louvre (we’re talking streaming of visitors coming to see the world’s oldest cured ham to the auto-icon of Utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham presiding over University College London), they are much more than just a little bit interesting.


The view from Graceland's webcam. Image c/o Hyperallergic.
The view from Graceland’s webcam. Image c/o Hyperallergic.


You can watch a live feed from Andy Warhol’s grave–complete with sounds of birds chirping and the commentary of people visiting. No, really–a bird landed by one of the soup cans while I was watching. You can even hear wind and what sounds like power lines or a generator. (Side note–as most of these are live feeds, they’re not censored. Just a heads-up in case you’re watching with kids). You can watch busload upon busloads of tourists at Graceland, Elvis Presley’s residence-turned-attraction. For a more relaxing view (given that you’re not afraid of Russian websites) there’s even a webcam streaming the fountain at the Peterhof Palace. I took a glance at the site when it was sunset in St. Petersburg, and the trickle of water pouring down the fountain as the sun was setting on the palace was surprisingly stunning.


The fountain at the stunning Peterhof Palace--I think it's smudgy due to rain or sprinklers...? Image c/o author and the Peterhof Palace.
The fountain at the stunning Peterhof Palace–I think it’s smudgy due to rain or sprinklers…? Image c/o author and the Peterhof Palace.


And the list of museum-cams goes far beyond the cool oddities featured on Hyperallergic, too. There’s one outside the Nova Scotia Maritime Museum, as well as the Illinois Railway Museum. The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History has links to several animal cams–including sea otters at both the Elkhorn Slough Foundation in Monterey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Be prepared for cuteness–they were doing backflips and paddling around when I last looked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s site. The Shetland Museum’s webcam overlooks Hay’s Dock, the “last remaining area of original dock on the Lerwick Waterfront,” and is complete with Scottish music playing every so often and featuring plenty of families on holiday at the seaside. 


The live otter cam from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Here, some lucky handlers feed and pet the cute critters. Image c/o author and Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The live otter cam from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Here, some lucky handlers feed and pet the cute critters. Image c/o author and Monterey Bay Aquarium.


Does all this streaming help bring needed attention to museums? It might be too soon to tell. But after looking at The Shetland Museum’s dock webcam, I’m considering a trip there for the sheer natural beauty. Happy watching!


Check out the original article on museum webcams on Hyperallergic.

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